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Original 3rd edition cover of the first book in the series Five on a Treasure Island

Do you remember all the Famous Five Stories? said Brassie, her eyes

developing a teary film of nostalgia.

Yes, and The Secret Seven series.  Malcolm Saville’s Lone Pine series was

riveting as well.  Smuggling and spying and so on.  Never fails to engage a

child of that age, Carrie contributed.

I used to keep a small Elastoplast tin in my pocket with a coin for an

emergency phone call, a pencil stub, a piece of string, a whistle, a paper clip,

a small magnifying glass and a folded sheet of paper-just as Fatty

(politically incorrect name for a child now!) advised, I recalled.

What was the folded paper for? asked Clammie.

Oh, if someone locked you in a room, you could push it under the door,

knock the key out of the lock and when it fell down it would land on the sheet

of paper and you could pull it under the door and release yourself.

Not as sophisticated as Derren Brown then, laughed Brassie.

No, but I remember following a poor old woman round the park, simply

because she had whiskers and we thought that she was a man in disguise.

When she sat on a park bench and discarded an Embassy coupon from her

cigarette packet, we thought she was about to have a Soviet rendezvous at

the park gate where there was a surveyor’s symbol which was a cryptogram

to us, carved into the stone lintel.

A ripe imagination! commented Carrie.